Economy

Irma causes Florida to shed jobs in September

Irma causes Florida to shed jobs in September”

Private-sector businesses were severely impacted last month by Hurricane Irma, which resulted in survey data showing a reduction of job numbers exclusively for the month of September.

Statewide nearly every job sector except government saw big losses, especially in construction, which saw a drop in employment of 4 percent, professional and business services lost 2.4 percent, administrative and waste services lost 4.3 percent, and leisure and hospitality lost 3.4 percent. The state figures mirror the federal rate, which fell to 4.2 percent in September from 4.4 in August, but also saw jobless claims grow, in large part to Hurricane Harvey's impact on Texas.

The national rate, too, has dipped just under a percent from 4.4 percent in August to 4.2 percent in September.

"Obviously, our jobs numbers were affected because of this", Scott said.

The estimated figures posted Friday by the Department of Economic Opportunity also stripped Monroe County of its long-held position of the state's lowest jobless mark. The drop in the number of Floridians working can be attributed to Hurricane Irma, a massive storm that swept throughout the state early last month.

More than 1.3 million private-sector jobs have been created across Florida since December 2010. "We will continue to fight for jobs every day".

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development said Friday the state's labor force grew to almost 3.34 million people with the September addition of almost 9,700 people entering the job market.

In the a year ago, 239,000 people entered Florida's labor force, a growth of 2.4 percent.

Cissy Proctor, Executive Director for the DEO, said that despite the negative impact of Irma, a growing workforce and strong performance in large metro areas were still good indicators of a strong economy.

The hurricane clearly impacted the leisure and hospitality industry which has lost more than 21,000 jobs in Florida over the past year, even as record numbers of tourists visited the state in the first half of 2017. That number is down from 5.7 percent in September of 2016.

However, September saw the cataclysmic Hurricane Irma hit Florida hard. Most of those job losses will prove temporary, and hiring should bounce back in the coming months.

Last month, Okaloosa and St. Johns counties had the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 2.7 percent each followed by Franklin, Wakulla and Walton counties where that rate stood at 2.9 percent.



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